Sunday, November 23, 2014

Week in Review

67 Miles
400m workout
14 mile EZ long run
0 days off
3 Days in CLT
1 Football tailgate

After a successful race in Richmond last weekend, the focus for this week was to facilitate a quick recovery and to begin building the foundation for a successful winter campaign.  I started the week in Charlotte and enjoyed some easy runs in the freezing cold weather with Michelle, Danielle and Caleb.  After I got back home, I went to my first Duke football game tailgate, but failed to venture into the stadium for the game because it was cold and I wanted to go grocery shopping. Yes, I am that lame.  I realized that going to Trader Joe's during a UNC/Duke game is the equivalent of going grocery shopping at 8AM, because no one is there.

On Friday, Billy and I headed to the stadium/track, and did some 400m repeats together while also dodging frozen water and gatorade that was leftover from the football game.  I was surprised to feel so springy in the legs during the workout, especially on such a cold morning.  I spent the weekend attending class, doing homework, going bowling with my #teamFuqua friends and running.  Today, I did my first long run at Umstead and really enjoyed the 14 mile loop, except for the hills.  The second half of the loop was so hilly that it seemed to cancel out the whole "easy run" part.  My labored breathing on the 15 steep climbs prevented me from blabbering my mouth the entire time.

Over the next 4-6 weeks, I plan to post some good workouts and mileage since Term 2 of my MBA ends on December 8th and then it's Christmas time, meaning no work and no classes!  I hope to take advantage of the free time to train hard, be with family and dream about LA Marathon 2015.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

(Richmond Half Marathon) Week in Review

60 Miles
10 miles with 2 x 1.5 miles followed by 4x200m
Half marathon race in 1:16:02
0 days off

This was the first weekend that I missed the live webex sessions for my MBA courses. Admittedly, the nerd in me was really freaking out about this, but I got in a lot of work early in the week so that I wouldn't let my teammates down before heading to Richmond for the marathon and half marathon weekend.  My race recap is below:

5:50 Place and 3rd place because from past results there seems to typically be 2 africans

2.5 miles warmup solo with strides
Race in 1:16:02 for 3rd place, 1st American female via
540, 554, 543, 544, 552, 551, 550, 559, 559, 549, 551, 547, 528, :29 (splits from the race markers)
2 miles cool down ish cheering for Michelle and Meagan

For those that may not know, I was in China for two weeks and then I was sick for an entire week after China and didn't recover until just under two weeks left for the half marathon race. Thus, I wanted to set realistic goals so I felt like 5:50 pace (or low 1:16) would be a good fit for me.

I warmed up solo in the cold conditions and came back to the hotel feeling like the conditions truly weren't that bad, especially compared to Cal International Marathon 2013. I immediately told Meagan and Michelle this to make them feel a little bit better about the cold.

Our hotel was so close to the start that I didn't meander over there until like 7:20, just ten minutes before, and it was perfect timing. On the line, I saw two Africans and a blonde chick in pink tights who I thought could definitely not be a legit runner. Well, I was wrong.

The race went off with an anti-climatic "go" and I found myself in the lead and thought WTF? The pace was crawling (or so I thought. I thought the Garmin said 555 pace, but I misread it and it actually read 535 pace). So then I saw the actual pace at 800 meters in, where the Kenyans had conveniently situated themselves right behind me. I naturally decided to slow down because I knew I wasn't in shape to run 1:14 and didn't want to do work for them to later win easily while I would later die drastically. So I slowed up and let the Kenyans go by and suddenly I was leading the pink tights girl and another chick who would later fall back.

After the mile split I decided to slow up a bit to force the Pink girl to take the lead along with four guys. That mile split was slow, so then the guys and I all picked it up again so that suddenly we were on the Kenyans again at mile 3. The Africans said something in a different tongue and took off again, taking the guys with them.  It was clear to me that they were trying to run the slowest pace possible to still win.

Over the next couple of miles, I was alone until the Pink chick came back on me and passed me on a slight uphill. I said good job and then tried to latch on. The rest of the race was spent yo-yoing back and forth with this Russian pink chick. Sometimes she would get me on the downhill; sometimes I would get her on the uphill. It wasn't that I battling with her, it was just that we each had different strengths. I didn't feel like I was wasting energy, but I wanted to maintain my pace and sometimes doing that meant passing her and then having her pass me back.

Quite honestly, during those miles I really wanted to quit (you can tell by the two mile splits at 559 pace), but having Pink chick there helped tremendously. In fairness, those slower splits were through a rolling terrain in a park with several turns so it was probably the slowest point on the course.

Around mile 9-10, I had settled for fourth place because I just felt so darn tired, but then I realized I could probably still beat her. However, I wasn't full confident of winning this battle for third until we rounded the turn at 12.5 miles and faced the massive downhill to the finish. She was side by side with me at that point, but I unleashed it and ended up beating her by 8 seconds in the final 600 meters and just missing breaking 1:16.

In the end, I was really pleased with my result, especially considering that in just March of this year, running 1:17 was a good day for me. Now I run 1:16:03 off minimal training, and it's a bad day. My fitness has come so far and I'm so grateful that I've been able to maintain training while in my MBA program...and to brag a little, Duke's Fuqua MBA program was recently ranked number one, beating out Penn, Chicago and Harvard.

I ran uphill all the way back to the hotel and then ran to the 16.5 mile marker of the marathon to try to catch Meagan and Michelle. I missed Meagan but saw Michelle. Then I raced back to the hotel to get a Starbucks for Meagan and Michelle and cheered for Meagan at 25.5. It was a good day!  Meagan qualified for the Trials with a time of 2:40:48 and then Michelle ran 3:02.  

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Week in Review

70 Miles
12M with 7 x 1000m repeats @ 3:35 with 1:00 jog rest on Dilworth Speed Loop
12.5M with 6k of 400m @ 80 /400m @ 1:35, 6:00 jog rest, 6k at 556, 557, 555, 5:49 pace

As you can tell, I finally was able to get a normal mileage this week! I felt like myself, I felt like I had control of my legs again and I felt ready for Richomnd.  The biggest struggle last week was trusting that I had enough fitness to still run a respectable race in Richmond.  I have been focusing a lot this week on mental strategies that will help me believe that I'm still in shape and have put in the right amount of work to race well.  The workouts that I posted this week helped tremendously in my mental outlook and confidence in myself. I was able to run 1000m repeats basically solo at my target half pace with a very short jog rest.  I followed that up with a great track / tempo workout on Saturday with Billy as my pacemaker.  I'm feeling really good about the next six weeks of training and am really excited to toe the line at Richmond!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

(Sick) Week in Review

47 Miles
2 Day off
14 mile long run

I got a little overzealous on Monday, my first full day back in the states after 16 hours of time travel across the world.  I felt just great: I got 8 hours of sleep Sunday night, worked a full day and was totally ready to hit 70 miles for the week.  With my grand plans to hop right back into training, I was smacked right in the face with my own ignorance.  Tuesday's run came and went, along with my pride and energy.  I spent the rest of the week with a stomach bug, without a voice, and sleeping like a cat from 12PM-5PM.  I struggled through every run and decided finally to take Wednesday off. I didn't go to the doctor, but instead waited until Thursday to finally pop a miracle pill Passport Health had given to me before my international travel.  Expecting the pill to work miraculously in hours, it didn't.  I almost had a meltdown on Friday, swearing to myself that there was no way I could run Richmond in just two weeks.  It's funny how quickly your mindset can go from being in the total dumps to being right back to normal. Saturday morning, I woke up and I just knew that today would be the day I would be normal again.  Despite my refusal to go to a doctor, I do sometimes make intelligent decisions.  I took my second day off from running even though I felt 100 times better. I wanted to let my body finally recover, without the additional stress piled on my garbage legs with a run.  I was able to close out the week with a 14 mile medium long run with Billy and George.  While it wasn't amazing, I got the job done and closed the week feeling good about my prospects for Richmond.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

(China) Weeks in Review

Shanghai Skyline - Captured on my first run along the Bund River

Week of October 13th
14 hour flight to China
Nick and I ran through Beijing!
3 Days in Beijing
1 Day at the Great Wall
Term 2 Kick-off in Shanghai
42 miles
1 Day off

This week started off with a run with Jilane and Meagan in DC and hopping on a plane to Beijing soon after that.
 I landed in Beijing on Tuesday, feeling excited to be on a continent I had never been to.  I got in several runs with Nick in the pollution-laced air and even ran a light minuters workout on Saturday in Shanghai along the Bund.  All in all, I'm really happy to be here and am so excited to get in some more runs!

Week of October 20th
47 miles
1 Day off
7 miles @ 630 pace on the treadmill

Llama temple (photo courtesy of Nick Alcantara)
This week was full of classes daily from 8AM - 6PM but it's a totally different vibe than the MBA residency in Durham.  There is actually time in the evening to go out and explore Shanghai and to get to know the city.  Because of this, it's been much easier for me to run around the city, my own way of exploring around.  One day the smog was too thick for my taste, so I hopped on the treadmill to get some miles in and closed the last 3 miles in sub-6:00 pace to get in some work. After a night singing my lungs out at karaoke, I forgot to set my alarm and woke up at 750am and had to frantically get dressed so I wasn't late for class that started at 8AM.  Somehow I made it to class with 2 minutes to spare and was so relieved, but obviously bummed that I didn't get to run. On the last day of residency, I organized a group of classmates to run with two of our professors, one of which was leading us through some cool places in the city since he lives in Shanghai.  It was a great way to get to know our professors and the city. On Sunday, it was time for me to go home and I boarded a plane at 4PM and was home at 10PM in Durham on the same day. Time travel rocks!

In the end, this residency helped me realize that I can't use these residencies as an excuse to just totally ignore running.  I was hoping to get 60 miles in during this stay, but didn't reach that because I missed my alarm.  I think that going forward, if I buckle down, I will definitely be able to still hit a good mileage and continue to achieve my running goals without sacrificing my performance at Duke.

Shanghai Skyline on my run

My classmates Brenda, Sam and I during our last night in Shanghai

Organized a CCMBA running tour of Shanghai with our professor

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Army Ten Miler Recap

Top 5

2.5 mile warmup
57:12, 3rd place overall female splits of 539, 542, 547, 532, 540, 552, 547, 547, 540, 542
1.5 cool down for about 14 miles total

After spending a week preparing for my second term of my MBA, it was a nice relief to hang out with Liz, Garrett and Meagan in the district the day before this race. I had been questioning how sound my rationale was to do a race right before heading out to China to kick off my second term, but after getting to DC, I knew that I had put in the work to post a decent time.  

Since I'm a whole month behind on my blog, I'm going to keep this short and just copy from what I posted in athleticore.  I felt really good about this race considering my lifestyle and lack of doing half marathon specific workouts. In the race, I had the pleasure of running with Meagan for about 2.5-3 miles and then after that I was solo, except for some of the men that either passed me or that I passed along the way.

I passed two Africans around 4-6 miles and then I passed another girl around mile 8. I had stomach cramps starting after mile 5, so that was a real struggle and a part of me really wanted to drop off and walk to the Lincoln Memorial instead. I really had to focus on not bargaining with myself to get a slower time, although I still fell victim to my own mind. For instance, after mile 6, I told myself "okay, you just have to keep running sub 6:00s to run sub 58." I should have told myself instead: "keep running sub 550", but I didn't want to hurt too bad. Fortunately, my body was somehow able to ignore my mind and push through to a pace faster than 5:50.  

Overall, I was very pleased with my effort and am impressed that I've been able to maintain a decent amount of fitness during my first term of my masters program.  Tomorrow, I head to China!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Broken Mile Repeats

3-4 x (1000m-200m rest-400m) and 400m jog between sets:

3.5 ish warmup in 27 min
1000m, 200m rest, 400m hard, 400m rest x 3
325 (54) 79 (1:53) 1 mile in 5:40
323 (59) 77 (1:56) 1 mile in 539
322 (59) 76 1 mile in 537
2.5 mile cool down on al buehler for 10 miles total

I love when Coach T-Bone gives me the option for how many intervals to complete.  Typically, if he gives me this option for a race-week workout, I definitely go on the lower end.  Out of habit, I did that today and opted for only 3.  As you can tell from the splits above, Billy and I definitely went out a little too hard on all of the 1000m repeats, so I felt like I had earned the right to only do 3 intervals.  At this point, there's not much more work I can do to affect the result of my race this Sunday.  I'm really excited to put my "MBA" fitness to the test and see what I'm able to accomplish while juggling a rigorous schedule of run, work, MBA homework, sleep, repeat.  I don't know if my fitness is where it was in June when i ran 56:46 en route to my half marathon PR, but I don't feel like it's out of reach to run 5:45-5:40 pace for the majority of this race.  The goal for me is to have fun and enjoy the beautiful scenery of DC as I run by all of the Capitol's monuments.